Sunday, March 09, 2008

On Cuts and Alien Abductions

The Twins made some cuts yesterday, and not all of them were expected. When you break them down, you find some interesting things, like a children's puzzle, a cautionary tale, and evidence of an alien abduction.

Zach Day (P) – Two months ago, Day was a 5 to 3 favorite for the “Kenny Rogers Slot” winner, for the pitcher awarded a spot in Twins staff due to his veteranity rather than any promise of future performance. (And yes, the stress is on the “a” in veteranity. Same as “in-SAN-ity”.) Livan Hernandez changed that, fortunately. Day’s coming back from rotator cuff surgery, and provides all kinds of rhyming options for us literary types, so let’s all pray that he can find a way to pitch another day. Maybe as soon as in May?

Deolis Guerra (P) – He’s the young pitcher that the Twins got back in the Johan Santana trade, and I’m pretty sure that’s why he was in camp. I’ll be little surprised if he’s in camp next year, but pleasantly so, because that’s an invitation he’ll likely need to earn. As opposed to this one.

Oswaldo Sosa (P) – Where’s Oswaldo? New Britain, apparently, where the marketing department can now add that game to their scorecard’s “Kids Corner”. He’s a right-handed pitching prospect who was promoted to AA last year. He doesn’t look like he has an outstanding ceiling, but he might have a chance of seeing The Bigs next year. He was at spring training because the Twins added him to their 40 man roster last year, so they’re using his first option by sending him back down.

Jose Mijares (P) – He’s a left-handed reliever who made it as high as AAA last year. He’s the cut that nobody saw coming, because he wasn’t even really in camp. You see, he broke his arm in a car crash in Venezuela in January. He won’t be healthy until at least May, so this looks like a lost year for him, which is bad, because he’s on the 40 man roster, so I think this is his third option.

Armondo Gabino (P) – He’s a right-handed middle reliever in AA, and not a particularly dominant one at that. He’s also not on the 40 man roster. I honestly wonder why he was in camp to begin with.

Brian Duensing (P) – Duensing might be the most surprising cut of the day. He was considered a dark horse candidate for that fifth spot in the rotation entering camp and should be a candidate to be called up during the year. After all, he’s a lefty that posted a 3.24 ERA in Rochester last year, and his peripheral stats were solid, if not spectacular. But he had a terrible camp, especially struggling with his control. I wonder if he's hiding some injury, and I wonder if the team figured the same thing. Now he can concentrate on getting better.

Jose Morales (C) – Morales was assumed to be first in line if anything happens to Mike Redmond or Joe Mauer. That might not be the case now. The Twins kept Eli Whiteside in the major league camp, and he has plenty of AAA experience and even a cup of coffee with Baltimore. Or maybe the Twins sent Morales down because they want him to focus on recovering from that nasty ankly injury he suffered last year. Hard to say.

Jeff Christy & Allen de San Miguel (C) - Two more catchers that were sent down. Neither of them made it out of AA last year, and neither cleared .225 anyplace where they had significant at-bats. Of course, I could say the same thing about a third catcher that is still in camp. Andrew Butera hit .201 in AA last year, but was part of the “loot” the Twins got back in the Luis Castillo trade. Was that the difference? Did the coaching staff just want to see more of him? Or did he just end up with the long straw?

Felix Molina (2B) – He’s been stuck in New Britain for over two years. This isn’t a strong indication that it won’t be three. (Hooray double negatives!)

Darnell McDonald (OF) – The Twins are silly with outfielders similar to McDonald, none of whom had a sore lower back. And that’s probably because they’re also all significantly younger than the 29-year-old McDonald. It’s nice he was in camp, but he might have been most valuable as cautionary tale to the youngsters. Make sure you seize this opportunity boys, because you can blink and suddenly you’re 28 years old and wondering if you’ll ever make it back.

Alejandro Machado (SS) – So let me get this straight. In the first round of cuts, Ron Gardenhire sent down a veteran pitcher (Day), the presumed favorite as third catcher (Morales), and now he’s sending down a middle infielder who is a defensive specialist (Machado)? Are we sure this is Ron Gardenhire? Is it possible he’s been replace by some alien being? Or maybe he and Toby have switched bodies, like in Freaky Friday? This can’t be good for Nick Punto.

5 comments:

J. Lichty said...

Jose Morales (C) – Morales was assumed to be first in line if anything happens to Mike Redmond or Joe Mauer. That might not be the case now. The Twins kept Eli Whiteside in the major league camp, and he has plenty of AAA experience and even a cup of coffee with Baltimore. Or maybe the Twins sent Morales down because they want him to focus on recovering from that nasty ankly injury he suffered last year. Hard to say.

Seth liveblogged the game on Sunday and Bert and Gordo had Bill Smith in the booth. Re Morales they said that he was sent down to get more at bats than he was getting in ml camp so that he is ready if needed.

spycake said...

Isn't Alejandro Machado still bound by the Rule 5 draft rules to be on the ML roster or returned to the Nationals? I thought he'd still have to spend 90 active days on the roster this year, because he was on the DL all last season. Hence it's weird we would sent him out of ML camp... unless something was worked out and I missed it...

Katie said...

I wondered the same thing about Machado.

Poor Darnell McDonald. He lost his spot on the 40-man for Livan. Volunteers at Twinsfest kept calling him "Denard"...to his face. I feel bad for the guy. Cautionary tale indeed.

spycake said...

Turns out the Nationals already waived their rights to Machado -- the Twins removed him from the 40-man roster last October, and he passed through waivers. He's in spring training as an NRI.

I'm told this was technically part of the Darnell McDonald-Levale Speigner-Rule 5 swap last season... or maybe the Nationals and Twins simply decided to consolidate these minor moves into one transaction for our benefit....

JST said...

Re: Oswaldo Sosa --

His contract was actually purchased in November 2006, and he was optioned on March 12, 2007. That makes this his second option year instead of his first.

Meanwhile, I completely agree on Mijares. Even though the Twins would have had to pay him a big league salary by putting him on the 60-Day DL for the year, maybe it would have been worth it to save the option year.